I am fortunate enough to go to a school that was recently renovated for the purpose of adhering to COVID-19 safety precautions. Even so, there are many risks that go along with gathering in a school versus staying at home for online schooling. I weighed them all out and decided that the potential risks were worth the reward of being in-person.
My Original Decision Process
I made this decision mainly because there are members of my close community that are high risk. I also knew that I would be able to relax more at home. These are two very important factors. I knew that I was not putting anybody close to me in any potential danger. I also found the extra time helpful to sleep in when I was virtual, so I was well-rested for my classes. I also worked out between classes to make sure I was still getting out of bed.
It seemed ideal until I realized that I was at a disadvantage learning from home because I was one of the few people on Zoom while the rest of my peers were in the classroom. I’m sure it’s hard for teachers to focus on students on a Zoom call as well as their in-person students, especially because a better student-teacher connection can be made in person.
I realized that I was missing the personal experience of learning more and more. On days when I had Wi-Fi problems or Zoom was glitchy, I would miss out on the course work my peers were receiving by attending physical classes. I also realized that I missed the time in between periods to catch up with my friends. I had to make a choice… online or in person?
Making The Big Decision To Switch
After careful consideration, I ended up choosing in-person because I realized I would gain so much more by being on the same level as my peers. I’m very glad I made this decision because I am much more immersed in my classes and I have the chance to get to know my teachers better.
Why In-Person Is Helpful For Me
Being in-person is very important to me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything because I learn so much from my classmates. School is a very collaborative place for me, so being able to bounce ideas off of my peers without having to shoot them a text or call them is wonderful.
What To Consider Before Going In-Person
Three of the biggest downfalls of being in-person are the potential health risks and the lack of sleep I now get because I have to wake up early again. So, I would recommend thinking about these things and how they'll impact your day-to-day life before making your decision.
1. The Risks
If you are considering going in-person for school, it’s important to make sure you understand the risks and to know if your school is taking the necessary precautions to mitigate them. If you do not think your school will be safe environment for you, especially considering closed spaces like the hallways or classrooms, or you are worried at all, it’s a good idea to ask questions to your school administrators! Ask them what they’re doing for the safety of their students and faculty. Being in person is wonderful, but not if it puts the people in school at a huge risk.
2. The Precautions
As I’ve mentioned before, schools have to take preventative measures in order to avoid COVID-19. Wearing a mask all day, when I was used to only wearing them once in a while to get groceries, was definitely a big change. Remembering to stay 6 ft apart from my peers when I’m used to huddling in close wolf-pack like clumps with my friends was also a big difference. Both of these precautions, and all the other ones that we have to take, are just the way the world is right now and that is unavoidable. So truly, this was not the worst thing to go through because at least I knew that I was doing these things to keep the people around me safe.
3. Less Sleep
Obviously getting a lot of glorious sleep was a wonderful benefit to being virtual. This was a really hard thing to give up, and if you are wondering if going to school in-person is worth the lost-sleep, I say yes! I recommend attempting to go to bed earlier so that you can better transition into your new sleep schedule. I consciously made the decision to give up extra sleep and even though some days I wonder why I chose to do that, I do not regret it in exchange for in-person learning.
Online Is Still A Viable Option!
All in all, I was still able to learn online, so if this is the only option for you, you are not missing out on an education. Especially if your whole school is online because then everybody is on an even playing field. If you are able to make the choice and you choose online, and that’s the right decision for you, that’s great! We are all still very new to COVID-19 safety regulations and doing what’s right is different for each person.
What I Learned From Trying School Online And In-Person
I am so happy that I tried both ways of education because I learned so much about myself in the process. I learned that I could still be careful while in person because my school has worked very hard to prevent COVID-19 cases on-campus. I learned that I do not need those extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning to function properly. And, most importantly, I learned that I can adapt no matter the situation.
My Advice For You
Given my personal experience, I believe that going to school in-person when the majority of your classmates are already there is very beneficial since you're all in the same learning environment. School became more than just learning inside the confines of a set curriculum again when I was able to return to class. I was once again able to laugh with my friends in between classes, and I was able to speak to my teachers whenever I passed them in the hallways. The relationships I create with my peers and my teachers has always been an important part of my school experience, and I was better able to do so in-person versus being online.